The Bird by Patrick Lane

birdcage

The bird you captured is dead.
I told you it would die
but you would not learn
from my telling. You wanted
to cage a bird in your hands
and learn to fly.

Listen again.
You must not handle birds.
They cannot fly through your fingers.
You are not a nest
and a feather is
not made of blood and bone.

Only words
can fly for you like birds
on the wall of the sun.
A bird is a poem
that talks of the end of cages.

Birdsong

starling

(starling: internet photo)

Little songbird pretends to be a cat.
Shadow of an eagle looms overhead,
peacock plumage in the trash.

Caw of a crow,
magpie screech,
you search for your sound.
Whistle of a robin,
chatter of a chick-a-dee,
what will be your melody?

Wind gusts an arrow at your throat.
A bruised song unburdens.
A ripple courses through the leaves.
Spiders glint on diamond webs.

Love rings your little beak.

Fletched feathers of your arrow
shatter the fake cat.
Your chirp roars.

Elsehul, South Georgia

(personal photographs)
Ancient mariner’s soggy realm
shrouded behind a veil.
Moist sky plunges to sea,
draws back curtain to magic.

Fur seals shimmer among foam waves.
Albatross, prion, starlings, petrels
glide, dive, flit in silence.
Air is alive with movement.

A Right whale arches to the surface,
an elegant waltz across the bay,
returns to the deep
with a coquettish flick of her tail.

Penguins dot steep hillside,
tiny acrobats on a slick slope.
Great bull seals shake shaggy heads,
ripple jello jowls of fur and blubber.

In an instant the sea is angry
splashing colourful gortex,
stinging exposed flesh.
Wind bites,
chases zodiac back to the ship,
protects penguin chicks and seal pups
from prying camera lens.

Fog descends once more.
Hides treasures briefly exposed,
a tease of the glory
of the ancient mariner’s realm.

Antarctic Blue

blue shag

(internet photo)
Blue coaxes me to morning.
A midnight nudge to peacock blush.
Full moon grins with Antarctic brush.
Glacial silt blue,
sapphire blue,
blue topaz,
blue spiralling over aquamarine.
Blue striations on white tabular berg,
artesian blue;
blue eyed shag’s gaze
pierces my day.

Perpetual Grin

chinstrap

(personal photo)
I had a two foot tall escort,
black and white on my left.
Dark cap strapped smartly
below his little chin.

We slipped and slid
along a snowy slope,
his steps mirrored mine.

A crunch,
a waddle,
a slide corrected,
we descended in time.

A perpetual grin
on his face
and now, also on mine.